Nanticoke health fair features screen and draw plays

LAUREL – There were draw plays and screen plays Saturday at Nanticoke Health Services’ 6th Annual Heart of Good Health: A Community Health Event & Partner Expo.

They were tied to football and healthy living.

With Washington Redskins’ running back Chris Thompson this year’s celebrity draw, free health screenings drew hundreds of patrons during the four-hour health fair held at Laurel High School.

Among the dozen or so free screenings: cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure and pre-cancer skin analysis. Nanticoke Health Services representatives were super-pleased with the turnout for all screenings.

“It was very high. And that’s what we want them to do. We want them to be here and get screened,” said Sharon Harrington, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Nanticoke.

“We want them to be engaged in their health care. We think that’s important,” added Penny Short, Nanticoke’s Chief Operating Officer & Chief Nursing Officer.

The mission of the Heart of Good Health: Provide the community with education and information on many aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. The fair and expo featured healthy living demonstrations and many activities for entire families.

Approximately 88 vendors lined the school’s main hallways. The list included health care providers,  non-profit organizations and private businesses that provide services for the community.

“The goal is that you want to live a healthier lifestyle,” said Ms. Harrington. “Whenever you can, make a better choice. If you have a chronic illness, know what your numbers, know what your blood pressure is and monitor and manage that.”

Folks who had the opportunity for autographs and Kodak moments with the personable Mr. Thompson received goodie bags filled with valuable information.

‘If they didn’t make it all the way to the screenings, they still went home with information about different services; important screenings,” said Ms. Harrington. “The idea of the celebrity is to draw people in that maybe wouldn’t have taken time …”

“In the past a lot of the people came just for the football player and then walked around. But this year it’s probably 50/50,” said Ms. Short. “A lot came for the health information and the screening … which is a good thing, that the message is getting out.”

This year’s health fair/expo featured a concerted effort to better connect with the region’s Hispanic population.

“One of the things that was new this year, we partnered with La Esperanza, La Red and the English Learning Language program in the school district to bring that community in,” said Ms. Harrington. “We wanted to reach out more to them and get them involved with the screenings and so forth. We had a lot of those families come in. They were very engaged.”

Among the event sponsors was Kevin Andrade and Maxima 95.3, one of the Hispanic stations that are part of The Voice Radio Network.

“He (Andrade) was our media partner on that,” said Ms. Harrington. “He didn’t ask for anything. He said he wanted them here getting screened.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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